PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA

Prospecting

Ride the rails —Virginia and Truckee railroad opens

The Virginia and Truckee Railroad (visitcarsoncity.com/) launches its 2012 summer season with round trip trains between Carson City and Virginia City Memorial Day Weekend. The real deal and real feel of a clickety-clack, gentle-gallop departs from today and goes back in time to robber barons, miners, dance halls and saloon girls.

Steam and diesel engines will ply the same 16-mile route made famous by the Comstock silver boom of the 1860s. The season runs through Oct. 21 with weekend excursions – Friday on diesel and Saturday and Sunday via steam on roundtrip and one-way rides from Carson City to Virginia City, or the “Sisters in History” route.

In conjunction with opening weekend, RailFest — a series of events to celebrate the area’s love affair with trains, will be held in Virginia City, May 26-27.

Activities include a Memorial Day Parade in Virginia City, an exclusive all-day Made in Nevada Market at the Gold Hill Hotel, stagecoach rides, gunfights and theater.

The Railroad Museum in Carson City will be open with extended hours, Saturday through Monday, May 26 to 28 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., offering train-fanatics rides on the Historic Virginia and Truckee No. 25 steam locomotive from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Outdoor exhibits and displays will be available and include the 1910 McKeen Motorcar and the French National Merci boxcar.

“The V&T is a major attraction that brings visitors to shops, restaurants and museums as well as helps drive overnight stays,” said Candace Duncan, executive director at the Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The V&T Railroad’s 16 miles of track re-opened in August 2009 after 70 years of non-operation. Each 90-minute ride provides a glimpse back in time to the area’s rich history. It offers the same scenic vistas of the Carson River and majestic Sierra Nevada with an adventure through two tunnels, along abandoned mine shafts and old cemeteries, highlighted with occasional sightings of wild mustangs.

The V&T, the richest short line in history, travels the same silver route paved by the miners of the infamous 1860s Comstock. It put the area on the map as an adventuresome, hell-raising city of the first order, where rough and tumble and high culture co-existed.

For tickets go to VisitCarsonCity.com or call 800-NEVADA-1.

A variety of ticket options and packages are available for riders.

In addition to the V&T’s Carson City-Virginia City Sisters in History 16-mile excursion, a 4-mile, 35-minute Historic Route loop through Virginia City and Gold Hill is offered. The V&T initially re-opened the historic route in 1972 under the ownership of the Gray family who have preserved the railway’s heritage. With the families help, the reconstruction project between Virginia City and Carson City become a reality for future generations. For historic route schedule and ticket prices go to VirginiaTruckee.com.

Weekend steam trains feature a 1916 Baldwin consolidation 2-8-0 steam engine leading two 1914 Pullman cars displaying the distinctive yellow and green of the V&T. Private group discounted charters for 20 or more passengers are also available to organizations or businesses. E-mail [email protected] or call 1-800-NEVADA-1 for details.

Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau

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